President Obama managed to squeeze in some time from his vacation in Hawaii to address Americans in a three-minute weekly address on Saturday.
After noting that in a new year, "we resolve to better ourselves, and to better our relationships with one another," the President bashed Republicans in Congress for going home for the holidays instead of extending unemployment insurance.
Republicans, Obama declared, are "punishing families who can least afford it..."
"Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire."
He continued to say that "denying" an extension of unemployment benefits is "is just plain cruel."
Obama also continued to say that unemployment benefits are good for the economy.
"If folks can't pay their bills or buy the basics, like food and clothes, local businesses take a hit and hire fewer workers."
Citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office, President Obama said,
"That’s why the independent Congressional Budget Office says that, unless Congress restores this insurance, we’ll feel a drag on our economic growth this year."
But as CBS News pointed out, President Obama is cherry-picking the CBO report to bolster his agenda. The very same report also noted that extending unemployment benefits could "reduce the intensity" of the job search, resulting in those people staying unemployed for a longer period of time.
It does not take a rocket scientist or an academic study to surmise that workers on unemployment, low-income workers in particular, do not have much of an incentive to aggressively search for a job.
The CBO report also warns,
"Although output would be greater and employment higher in the next year if the EUC [emergency unemployment compensation] program and other related expiring provisions were extended, those policies would lead to greater federal debt, which would eventually reduce the nation’s output and income slightly below what would occur under current law..." [emphasis added]
President Obama did not mention that part of the report.
A 2008 Princeton study found what any thinking person could have guessed, and that is that an individual is much more aggressive in seeking a job as his or her benefits are coming to an end. The authors note that "job search increases sharply in the weeks prior to benefit exhaustion."
Another interesting finding is,
"the average unemployed worker in the U.S. devotes about 41 minutes to job search on weekdays, which is substantially more than his or her European counterpart..."
Even progressive President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the hazards of long-term welfare.
During his annual message to Congress in 1935, he said in part,
"The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America..."
It cannot escape notice that President Obama is pushing taxpayers to foot the bill for more unemployment while he is on a particularly extravagant holiday in Kailua, an oceanfront neighborhood in Oahu, which is mostly funded by working Americans.
While the Obama family is "paying for the $56,000 cost of the rental home," taxpayers are footing the bill for "the first family’s travel on Air Force One - which, at more than $180,000 per hour, makes for a couple of million-dollar flights," as reported at the Washington Times, who details the Obama family's activities while on vacation. Taxpayers are also paying for "hundreds of federal workers" to join the President and his family in their own rental homes on the beach.
Just the rental alone for the President's family holiday costs more that the median household income in the United States, which was $51,017 in 2012, as reported at CNN.